Tuesday 19 September 2017

The Hippo Hands Over . . . . to S.D. Mayes

Today it's publication day for Letters to the Pianist and I'm absolutely thrilled to be handing over to the author S.D.Mayes. 

I hope you're all on your best behaviour as she's brought along a guest character and when I caught a passing glimpse of her earlier she certainly looks like she’s a lady with high standards!

But before I hand you over, let me tell you about the book.


In war torn London, 1941, fourteen-year-old Ruth Goldberg and her two younger siblings, Gabi and Hannah, survive the terrifying bombing of their family home. They believe their parents are dead, their bodies buried underneath the burnt remains – but unbeknownst to them, their father, Joe, survives and is taken to hospital with amnesia.

Four years on, Ruth stumbles across a newspaper photo of a celebrated pianist and is struck by the resemblance to her father. Desperate for evidence she sends him a letter, and as the pianist’s dormant memories emerge, his past unravels, revealing his true identity – as her beloved father, Joe. Ruth sets out to meet him, only to find herself plunged into an aristocratic world of sinister dark secrets.

Can she help him escape and find a way to stay alive?

LETTERS TO THE PIANIST is a compelling page turner packed with drama, intrigue and suspense. If you loved The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas or The Pianist, then you will love this exciting new novel.

I love the sound of this book and The Book Thief is one of my all-time favourite books, so I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing Letters to the Pianist here on The Hippo very soon.

So now I’ll hand you over to the author herself and she can reveal who she’s brought along with her today.

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I travelled back in time to 1941, for an interview with a character from my book LETTERS TO THE PIANIST, Connie Douglas-Scott.

Today I sit opposite the beautiful and elegant debutante, Lady Connie Douglas-Scott in the grand living room of her parent’s home in Richmond, South West London. 

Good to meet you, Lady Douglas-Scott. I’m so grateful that you agreed to speak with me and allow me insight into your exotic world.
Lovely to meet you too, my dear.  And do call me, Connie. I apologise for being two hours late.  I awoke at midday. And my maids had to dress me in my finest and curl my hair … and, of course, I do worry terribly that my shoes and handbag are the right match. 
You look beautiful as usual, Connie.
Why, thank you. People always tell me I look like Vivien Leigh, you know, the actress in Gone With The Wind.  Although I’m twenty-four so look much much younger. Anyway, silly me. You must be terribly thirsty, so let me get our butler, Rutherford to pour us both a glass of champers. I always need a few bubbles to keep me going.  RUTHFORD, come please.

Photo found on Google

Thank you, Connie.  With the war going on, I don’t get a chance to indulge in such luxury.
Oh darling, don’t you. You do know that alcohol isn’t rationed. As long as you’ve got the moolah, as daddy calls it, it’s yours. But I suppose you’re a writer, so you must survive on bread and wine like all the creatives do. 

I can’t afford wine. But yes, something like that, Connie.
Well, I promise, before you leave, I’ll make sure you’ll get some smoked salmon and caviar.   Don’t want you starving to death now, do we?

Thank you, Connie, now can I get to the nub of things and ask why a beautiful debutante like yourself is still single.  It is hard to believe.
Goodness you are a cheeky one, aren’t you?  Okay, hmm, well, Mummy says I’m far too fussy. Although there was one man I met. Very powerful he was too, but he was much older and ... he um … well, he lives in Europe, so it wouldn’t have worked … but there’s always some chap whisking me off to the races or taking me to dine at some official function.

Sounds wonderful.
Yes, but I’ve discovered that one can be wined and dined by a perfect gentleman with a top-notch pedigree and still feel very much alone. Mummy would be livid if she heard me say this, but many of these men are terribly dull and dare I say pompous, obsessed with their investments or chasing off on shooting jaunts to the country. They want the right sort of girl on their arm but they show little interest in the real me.

So what do you want, Connie?
Just a good man … kind and loving. Someone I can talk to ... who listens, that’s all. Am I asking too much?

No, that’s completely understandable.  So there’s no one?  No one at all?
Well, umm, I do charity work you know, visiting the sick and the injured in hospital for my sins … 

Really, how wonderful of you, to give your time in this way.
Yes, I try and do my bit. Bring a bit of colour into their poor lives, you know … anyway there’s a man there – oh it’s silly really, he’s very ill and can’t remember a thing about his past … and I don’t know … I just feel quite drawn to him. Maybe it’s just that he’s a bit of an enigma, but my heart did flutter a bit. And I could see that beneath that hairy face of his, he is rather handsome.

Goodness, Connie, would your father, Lord Douglas-Scott approve?
Well that depends. We can become anonymous with this silly old war. People lose their homes and their identities. We might discover that the poor devil is from rich stock when his memory returns, you never know.   And even if he were just a handsome ruffian, well, daddy, he just indulges me. I can twist him and most men around my little finger, you know.  But I do want to settle down.
Hmm, anyway, darling, mystery is such fun. So let’s have a sip of champers and drink to the unknown … chin chin!

I’m so pleased that S.D. brought Connie along today, she sounds like an intriguing character with a very interesting story to tell.

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                                          About the author

Photo courtesy of S.D. Mayes

S.D. Mayes worked as a journalist for nearly twenty years before turning her hand to fiction. Inspired by the bizarre but factual events of Hitler’s supernatural obsession, Letters to the Pianist is her first historical suspense novel. Originally from the West Country, she currently lives in Berkshire, UK.

Letters to the Pianist is published by BHC Press and is available now in hardback and e-book and the paperback will be available from 6th October.

You can find out more about S.D. Mayes and connect with her using the links below:

I’d like to wish S.D. Mayes a happy publication day to say thank you for taking the time to stop by on what must be a very busy day. I wish you every success with Letters to the Pianist. 🥂